Fear of God Devotional: Spending Quality Time With Your Family

Should families skip gatherings of the church to “spend more family time?”

Craig Houston explains in this video that as a pastor, his primary concern for Christian families is that they learn to love Christ’s church. Christ loves the Church and died for the Church. This refers to the visible, assembled body of believers. Christians are called to worship with, care for, and be accountable to the Church.

And yet, families excuse their frequent absences from gatherings of the church because they want to spend more time with their family. However, when you spend time in church, gathering together as a family with other families, you are not wasting time. Rather, you are spending time as a family in the best way that you possibly can. It is vitally important to have the right perspective of Christ, the Church, and to love what Jesus loves.

Hebrews 10:24-25 (NKJV) – “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”

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Marriage Conference in California

Marriages which are pictures of Christ’s love for His church, and the church’s respectful obedience are representations of the Gospel to local churches and communities… for this we pray and work. This is why Deborah and I are traveling to California to speak at a Marriage Conference near Fresno Feb 24-25.

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A New (Free) Book on the Sabbath by Sam Waldron at Chapel Library

Now available at Chapel Library is a new (FREE) book titled The Lord’s Day: Its Presuppositions, Proofs, Precendents, and Practice by Sam Waldron: The Lord’s Day

The Lord’s Day is a thoroughly up-to-date consideration of the Fourth Commandment and its ramifications for modern Christianity. Its four sections include the Presuppositions that influence our thinking; Proofs at creation, by Moses, and in the New Testament; Precedents in the Apostolic Fathers and John Calvin; and finally its Practice. While precise and careful, the author avoids extremes and makes the nuances and complexities of the theological issues clear for most Christians.

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The Power of the New Birth

This is one of the clearest explanations of what it means to be a Christian in the entire Bible. John is preaching Christ as he continues to explain the miracle of the new birth. He describes what happens to you when you are born again. John is writing about what is the foundation of Christianity – the supernatural regeneration of the soul. The new birth is so powerful that it gives you:

1. Faith. 
2. Love for the children of God. 
3. Delight to keep His commandments. 
4. Power to overcome the world.

These words in 1 John make it clear that the heart of Christianity is not about “doing the right thing,” good behavior or knowing right doctrine. The center of Christianity is the power of a new birth, where Christ is causes you to become a new creature. In this way, the church is the place of the prominence of Christ and the demonstration of the power of the love of Christ.

In this way, the church ceases to be a work of man, and becomes a work of the life of God in the soul of man.

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Fear of God Devotional: Godward Focus – The Puritans Got it Right

What can we learn from the Puritans?

Joel Beeke explains in this video that we can learn much from observing the daily life of the Puritans. He explains how the Puritans would set aside a period each day to first read Scripture, memorize a passage, meditate on everything they knew about that passage, spend time in prayer, make holy resolutions regarding changing certain things in their life, record things in their diary, sing a psalm, finish meditating, and conclude by praying and giving thanks. It is essentially a prolonged and more focused personal devotion period.

They also meditated throughout the day. Notably, the four most common subjects that the Puritans would meditate on involve: Heaven, hell, death, and the judgment day. In short, they were eternally focused. Today, we have so much technology that constantly occupies us that it is rare for someone to even meditate for even five minutes about Heaven. Instead, we occupy much of day thinking about anything but eternity. Like the Puritans, we ought to meditate on our eternal destiny – its joys and potential sorrows if we do not live a life of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Joshua 1:8 (NKJV) – “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”

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Fear of God Devotional: Men Who Do Not Worship God

What happens when men do not worship God?

Kevin Swanson explains in this video that it is vitally important that men are examples of worshipping God. God wants both men and women to be fully engaged in worship. Without men leading their families in worship, reformation, family life, and even the continuity of faith suffer as a result. In short, we need men who worship God.

As husbands and fathers, men need to be faithful in attending church, instructing their children how to worship God, and being an example they can look up to. But not only is a man to corporately worship God along with fellow believers, but he should also be faithful in leading his family in worshipping God as a family. Finally, he must not neglect personal worship.

Colossians 3:16 (NKJV) – “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”

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A Day for Pastors – Central and Western NC/SC

Jason Dohm is gathering with local church leaders for a day of prayer, mutual encouragement, fellowship, and exhortation to be held on Monday, February 20. Deacons and aspiring church officers are also more than welcome.

Date/time: Monday, February 20, 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Location: The Church Without Walls, 2502 Crowders Creek Road, Gastonia, NC 28052.
Cost: $10 per person, which includes the lunch that will be provided.
What to expect: A day of encouragement for pastors and other church officers.

We desire to see like-minded pastors and congregations within a small geographical area begin to (1) know each other, (2) actively encourage each other, and (3) join together in Great Commission labors. As the Lord would give us grace, the NCFIC is endeavoring to facilitate this by bringing pastors together and giving them an opportunity to interact and pray for each other.

Please consider joining us.

Learn More & Register

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Fear of God Devotional: Excited to Preach

What should excite you as a pastor as you prepare a sermon?

Marcus Serven explains that he has delivered sermons for over 30 years. As a preacher, you want to dig into the text and construct a sermon so that the text ministers to the people. The points in your sermon should flow right out of the Bible – that is when it has the most authority.

Perhaps the exciting part of sermon preparation is the realization that though you as the pastor may be putting the sermon together, it is the Word of God that is impacting people and that is where change comes from. God works through your faithful communication of His Word to encourage, convict, and instruct your congregation.

2 Corinthians 4:5-6 (NKJV) – “For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake. For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

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A Good Book for Pre-Marital Counseling

I am often asked what kinds of books I might recommend for couples who are planning to get married. Here is one, “Married for God,” by Christopher Asah. This book is really excellent. You can get it here

Here is a citation I really liked,

“For we are not made to gaze into the eyes of another human being and find in him or her all we need. And if we think we were, we are bound to be disappointed. If my dear wife ever thought I could be everything to her, then she certainly knows better now!…” 

“The moment I make my “relationship” the goal of my life, I doom myself to disappointment.” Surprisingly, the key to a good marriage is not to pursue a good marriage, but to pursue the honor of God. We need to replace this selfish model of marriage with one in which we work side by side in God’s “garden” (that is God’s world), rather than gaze forever into each others eyes.” 1

1. Married for God, by Christopher Ash, P42

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Reforming the Family – D6

Check out the new web site over at D6. Our friend Carlton McLeod has posted resources for the kind of thinking that works for the reforming your family. It is essentially a quick study tract. There aren’t any solicitations of any kind and you don’t have to login anywhere.  It is meant to cast a vision quickly, and give those interested an easy way to start and begin to learn more.  We believe revival will begin in hearts and homes.

Carlton says, “We believe reforming the home is essential to turning the tide of generational losses and recapturing God’s plan for multigenerational faithfulness.

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Fear of God Devotional: The Grace that Saves is Grace that Transforms Your Life

What is saving grace?

Jeff Pollard explains in this video that the grace that saves you is also the grace that instructs and transforms your life. If you have received God’s grace, you have His Spirit. If indeed God has invaded your soul, the Spirit begins to shine the Word of God in your mind and heart. You begin to understand that Scripture teaches you that there are certain things that Scripture teaches as good and others as wicked. There is a new desire in your heart and soul to walk with Christ.

But, American Christianity has missed the fact that God saves us, justifies us, and that justification is never separated from sanctification. The notion of grace that doesn’t in some way kindle a desire to put away what is wicked and to walk in righteousness is not saving grace. It is not possible to simply proclaim that you “believe,” but then live your life however you want.

Titus 2:11-14 (NKJV) – ” For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.”

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Fear of God Devotional: Expositional Preaching Forces Prostration in the Preacher and the Hearer

How does expositional preaching help us to better worship God?

Craig Houston explains in this video that there is something about preaching expositionally that forces the preacher to go to Scripture and be faithful to the text. It forces a pastor to prostrate himself before a Holy Scripture – that’s what worship is. True worship involves making what God has declared to be preeminent, preeminent.

The congregation of a church ought to come with a worshipful heart. They should say, as the people did in Nehemiah in chapter 8, “bring the book!” They ought to yearn for what Scripture says.

Ultimately, a proper understanding of biblical preaching involves a preacher and a people that come and prostrate themselves before Scripture. God is glorified and honored. He is pleased when Scripture is revered and preached.

Matthew 4:4 (NKJV) – But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”

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Is Genesis History?

Is Genesis History?  Is evolution more reasonable than creationism? This film will answer the question beyond the shadow of a doubt. It’s a fantastic film. Everyone needs to see it. The first ten minutes are worth the price of the film.

See more at their website: isgenesishistory.com

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Fear of God Devotional: The Family Worshiping Together

How does a father teach his family about the worship of God?

Joel Beeke explains in this video that it is vitally important to teach your children about the worship of God. If you honor and glorify God, you worship Him. Fathers ought to teach their children the importance of worshipping God as a family, at gatherings of the church, and privately.

Fathers ought to set an example for their children by prioritizing the study of God’s Word and prayer. The trajectory of a family often follows the father. As a father, do you faithfully read Scripture and pray with your family? Do you teach your children about how to prepare for, listen to, and respond to the sermon? Work or household tasks ought never to supersede the weighty responsibility fathers have to bring up their children in the “training and admonition of the Lord.”

Ephesians 6:4 (NKJV) – “And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.”

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Fear of God Devotional: Why Are Churches Weak?

What leads to weak churches in America?

Kevin Swanson explains in this video that the American church is weak. This stems from the fact that many churches fail to preach the law of God and that there is a lack of true faith. True faith would manifest itself by the mortification of sin in the lives of believers, repentance, and a reformation of life. Sadly, there is little evidence of reformation and repentance in many American churches.

When the law of God is ignored, repentance is hardly noticeable amongst American churches. If there is no acknowledgment of the law of God, there is no need for repentance and a confession of sin. Instead, all too often, we see such a focus on the grace of God that the law of God and God’s wrath towards sin is rarely discussed. Accordingly, the church is weakened because the grace of God is not manifest in the lives of churchgoers and there is a lack of individuals repenting and mortifying sin.

Hebrews 11:6 (NKJV) – “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”

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